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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

419

What Your American Girl Doll Says About the Rest of Your Life

Samantha Parkington:
Did you know, when you picked her out, that Samantha was the cool one? Or were you simply drawn to her glossy brown hair, sophisticated accessories (she had a fur muff!) and rich demographic? Either way, every girl wanted a Samantha. If you owned her, you quickly learned the value of cachet.

By virtue of acquiring a status symbol early on (a Samantha doll was the designer jeans of third grade), you never quite had to worry about things the way other girls did. You therefore grew up to be confidant, capable, and nonplussed. You've always been well liked. You aren’t the funniest in your group, but you’ve never really noticed or cared. If you thought about it, you could probably recognize other women who had Samanthas. But that’s not that impressive: everybody can.

Molly McIntire:
If you had Molly, you probably wanted Samantha instead, but contented yourself with Molly because you too wore glasses, liked books, were bad at math, and would concoct various schemes to get attention. (Oh, Molly.) If you were a Molly, and had a Molly (as opposed to being a Molly and aspirationally owning a Felicity), you were imbued, then and now, with an immutable sense of self. At least Molly could tap dance, which is frankly more talent than any of the other girls exhibited.

As an adult, you’ve developed a carefully honed aptitude for sarcasm. You've gotten contacts, and a slightly edgy haircut. You still sort of want attention, but you deny it. You’ve thought back on your American Girl Doll, and tried not to be too resentful towards the person who gave her to you, who so obviously associated you with the descriptor “mousy.”

Kirsten Larson:
You probably got Kirsten because she was blond, or because you read a lot of Little House on the Prairie books. (It definitely wasn’t because of her "St. Lucia Christmas Outfit" ... yikes!)

Whatever superficial motivation led you to choose Kirsten, you quickly learned that life as a Swedish immigrant in Minnesota is not all lingonberry pie and ice fishing. Not halfway through the first book does Kirsten's best friend Marta die suddenly and tragically of cholera. This was shocking and horrifying. Obviously, you were used to cholera deaths (this being the age of Oregon Trail), but this time it was different.

You therefore grew up to be a bit more thoughtful, a bit more reserved than your peers. You also find yourself inexplicably drawn towards crafts like knitting, jam-making, and quilting. You secretly suspect that you'd manage just fine in a post-Apocalyptic setting, should things come to that. You were surprised and delighted to see some of Kirsten's outfits come back into style in certain enclaves of Brooklyn.

Felicity Merriman
You had Felicity because of one or more of the following reasons:
A) you had red hair
B) You thought she had the prettiest clothes and accessories.
C) Fewer people had Felicity, and you wanted to be unique.
D) You actually wanted Samantha but your mom thought Samantha’s dress looked like the top of a peanut butter jar so you got Felicity instead. (Just me? OK.)

You grew up to have an affinity for lovely things, a possibly inflated sense of your own uniqueness, a teensy hint of self-righteousness (remember how she refused tea when they raised the tea tax? "Thank you, I shall take no tea!"), and a latent familiarity with Colonial Williamsburg.

Addy Walker
If you were black, you had Addy because your parents were trying to encourage positive self-esteem in a market saturated with white dolls. If you were any other minority, you had Addy because your parents were trying to encourage positive self-esteem in a market saturated with white dolls. If you were white, and had Addy, it was because your progressive parents were trying to encourage broad world-views in a market saturated with white dolls.

Though arguably the most likeable of all the characters, Addy is more of a racial totem than personality- or era-driven doll: Her story doesn’t exactly provoke a nostalgia for slavery, and her accessory was, no kidding, a gourd. (The significance is obvious — how little girls would make their dolls play with the gourd is not.)

Girls who had Addy grew up with an acute sense of the lack of diversity in early-'90s consumer culture.

No American Girl Doll
Your parents wouldn’t buy you an American Girl doll because $80 is a ridiculous price to pay for a toy, which would then inevitably lead to the purchase of multiple accessories ranging from the overpriced ($18 for “Winter Accessories,” consisting of tiny doll mittens and a hat), to the exorbitant ($56 for an “Ice Cream Set,” consisting of tiny plastic scoops of ice cream), to the highway robbery ($349 for a “doll’s chest,” a.k.a. tiny wooden box).

You grew up to be financially independent, level-headed, unspoiled, and still just a little bit resentful whenever you walk by American Girl Place.

Previously: Netflix Instant for Every Situation.

Chiara Atik is a writer for HowAboutWe, and, according to the infuriating quiz she just took, a Molly.

419 Comments / Post A Comment

theharpoon

So the reason I'm obsessed with the post apocalypse is because my grandparents got me a Kirsten doll??? I never would have put this together on my own.

Katie Walsh

@theharpoon I too am obsessed with the apocalypse/post apocalypse. I didn't have a Kirsten but she was my favorite! Oh, how I longed for the real-life sized versions of her clothes!

whimsy

@Katie Walsh
My Grandmother actually made both my doll and me matching clothes. Including the St. Lucia Outfit, which I wore on the right day, and my parents even put real candles in my hair!

theharpoon

@Katie Walsh I have watched so many terrible movies because of this obsession.

Katie Walsh

@theharpoon ME TOO! OH MY GOD WE NEED TO DISCUSS THIS!

theharpoon

@Katie Walsh #HAIRPIN APOCALYPSE DISCUSSION GROUP

piekin

@whimsy Jealous.

Eureka Rochelle

@theharpoon LL Bean has a sweater that looks just like the one in Changes for Kirsten. They've carried the same sweater for over a decade, and I have a theory that its longevity is due to grown-up women who still want Kirsten's sweater

LALeo

@theharpoon #HAIRPIN APOCALYPSE DISCUSSION GROUP - I want in!!

Ellie

@whimsy I never had Kirsten (I had Molly) but I looooooved the St. Lucia outfit and always wished I were Swedish so I could celebrate it too. Sigh.

hotdog

@theharpoon Is this a safe place to admit I watched the 'Left Behind' series because of my apocalypse-move love?

@serenityfound

@whimsy I never had an American Girl Doll, but I became obsessed with St. Lucia Day after reading the Kirsten books and put together an outfit, served breakfast for my family, etc. all on my own one year XD #doooork

cmbeetle

@theharpoon Not Swedish, but went to a Swedish Lutheran church as a kid...St. Lucia Day was magical! If you are flying to MN on that day, the flight attendants will do a fire safe version of the outfit. It still makes me smile :)

slutberry

@Ellie Right? I came here to say, "It was TOTALLY because of the St Lucia outfit. TOTALLY."

actually, I didn't choose Kirsten, as she was a gift (the year SuperLice struck and my sisters and I all had to cut our hair off -- it was like a consolation prize, "Here, this doll has more hair than you do!") but I was, at the time, completely obsessed with being blonde & blue eyed (I have dark eyes and mousy hair) and my parents chose well.

DenimGlow

Where is the doll news tag??!

Edith Zimmerman

@DenimGlow Haha whoops. FIXED.

DenimGlow

@Edith Zimmerman Thank you for your prompt attention

cherrispryte

You grew up to have an affinity for lovely things, a possibly inflated sense of your own uniqueness, a teensy hint of self-righteousness

OH HAI INCREDIBLY ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF MYSELF.

alpelican

@cherrispryte Yes and yes

blee

@cherrispryte I know, right? I loved my Felicity doll.

emilylou

@cherrispryte Felicity was the jam! My mom bought the doll outfits but said it was ridiculous to buy the overpriced lifesize dresses out of the catalog, so she made her own pattern for the blue silk & lace Christmas dress and sewed it for me! I totally took it for granted at the time, now I realize how annoying that must have been, but what can I say, I needed a lovely and unique dress.

Also I dyed my hair red for most of high school (combination obsession with Felicity then Tori Amos I guess, so cool) and I still have an affinity for equestrian-inspired fashion statements.

That American Girl quiz confirms the fact that I am still a Felicity, what a relief.

LydiaBennett

@emilylou WHAT THERE IS A QUIZ?? BRB.

oh, disaster

The quiz told me I'm a Rebecca?!! Where's the pre-1997 quiz for old people like me?

Anna Marquardt

@Andrea@twitter I'm Rebecca too! She wants to be a vaudeville performer.

QuiteAmiable

I had all of the Samantha books, but never a doll. I was secretly obsessed with being raised by my strict grandmother and having an Aunt Cornelia.

gimlet

@QuiteAimable Agh, Aunt Cornelia was the coolest. I didn't like Samantha, though, because everyone had/wanted a Samantha doll. #eightyearoldhipster

alpelican

@Riff Randell Did anyone else want the doll for Samantha's poor friend who worked in the factory instead? What was her name again?

QuiteAmiable

@alpelican Her name was Nellie!

alpelican

@QuiteAimable YES. Nellie 4 Lyfe

fancypants

Um wow. I think this is spot-on. I still haven't forgiven my mom for giving away my Kirsten doll. I ruined her hair and lost her necklace the first day I had her but I loved that damn doll. She was a blonde prairie girl like me. We got each other. She had nicer furniture and clothes than me generally though. Did anyone else's grandma buy the patterns and make perfect little clothes for their doll? Ahhhh I miss being a kid.

fleurdelivre

@fancypants OMG! My granny bought the pattern for my Molly doll and made a tiny raincoat for her to hang on tiny clothes hanger. Then, she refused to make any of the other patterns because they were too much of a pain in the ass.

pettycoat

@fancypants My mother gave in (after years of begging) and bought me a Molly doll. She then (after seeing the prices for her accessories) promptly signed me up for a sew your own American Girl Doll clothes sewing class. We sewed tiny polar fleece robes for the dolls and I even made a custom glasses case for Molly's tiny glasses.

I would love to see footage of us third grade girls sitting diligently at our machines making tiny things. It must have looked a bit like an industrial revolution era sweat shop...Premise for a new American Girl Doll series??

princessS

What about us girls who had the "Make Your Own American Girl Doll"?? Are we (I) just the incredibly narcissistic ones? Because of course I chose a doll that resembled me.

Titania

@princessS: I begged for one of these, to which my mom responded, "You have a Samantha doll, and you have brown hair, brown eyes, and white skin. How much more like you can a doll look?" She had a point, but I was still like "the SKIN TONES, Mom, the SKIN TONES!"

Laura K.

@Titania My mom fell for it and bought me one- Effectively, I had two Samantha dolls.

Laaditz

@princessS: I had 3 American Girl Dolls...Kirsten, because she looked like me (blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin).. Addy, because none of my friends had her and I thought that no one bought Addy so I asked for her (so that she wouldn't feel left out). I also had a "Make Your Own"--she was Chinese. I was VERY into diversity! lol

rocket_pincushion

@Laaditz I had Kirsten, who looked NOTHING like me, and a make your own American Girl with textured black hair and medium skin tone. I named her Anne-Marie and often dressed her in Kirsten's outfits. Funnily enough, Anne-Marie bears no resemblance to me either.

DrFeelGood

I had Felicity and Molly (Molly because she was my Mom's era, Felicity because we lived near Williamsburg). What does that say about me?! Also am I the only one who thought that Samantha (and all the girls who owned her) were self righteous B-words?

gimlet

@DrFeelGood You're right on about the Samantha girls, at least the ones in my neighborhood.

Wow, thinking about the Samantha doll has brought back some latent bitterness, it seems. Whoops.

DrFeelGood

@Riff Randell haha. Yea now all I can think about is this one girl I knew who had the "girl sized" dress that Samantha wore, including the little hat, and my mom wouldn't buy me any of those dresses, nor take me to the "traveling American Girl doll fashion shows/tea parties" that would roll through town every year, NOT THAT I'M BITTER OR ANYTHING MOM!

gimlet

@DrFeelGood Oh man I actually had the Molly Christmas dress, in my size! It was green velvet with white buttons and it was literally the best thing.

The thing about having a Molly doll/Molly obsession is that when your parents say you can't do American Girl fashion shows or get any new American Girl stuff until your next birthday, you can just pretend you're Molly and chalk it up to "rationing" and put on a brave face. Mollies 4-eva.

DrFeelGood

@Riff Randell haha. Awesome. I think I used to pretend that my mom's vegetable garden was our Victory Garden. Good times.

JoanTition

@RiffRandell

I had the red + white striped pajamas! I love the creepy matching outfits SO FUCKING MUCH. Also: right with you on the Molly love. FUREVER.

gimlet

@JoanTition the creepy matching outfits were the BEST. That same Christmas, my parents bought me a 3-CD collection of 1940s-era Christmas songs. We still listen to them every year - they're surprisingly cool, in a kitschy way.

fierce_pierce

@JoanTition UM scroll down ME TOO. Those pajamas. SO ITCHY but I was obsessed.

jennatar

@DrFeelGood I too had a Molly doll BECAUSE SHE WAS FROM MY MOM'S ERA. *And* I thought the other girls (apart from Felicity!) were really cold and aloof. I decided, as a kid, that I really just liked that one author better. (I remember her name without looking it up! Valerie Tripp wrote those books!)

Kelli Marks

Who the fuck is Kit?

Katie Walsh

I wanted a Kirsten, but when Felicity came out, I was entranced by her red hair and asked for her instead. I kept her in the closet and never played with her because I didn't want to ruin her shiny shiny hair (I think this just means now that I love shiny hair AND I DO), whereas little sister had a Molly and she got played with and hair ruined. I really think you can tell the best loved dolls by how ruined their hair is. They got played with at least!

TinyArmy

I didn't grow up in America but found a Samantha book in a rummage sale once. I remember her wanting to earn money for something using a boy scout craft book or something and her grandma being all "Ladies do not work!" I didn't know they were dolls until I moved to New York and that was the first step to America ruining my childhood.

annierebekah

@TinyArmy right? I fixated on them until my first birthday in the States when I didn't have any friends and my parents were unemployed and I opened up my American Girl box and burst into tears.

DrFeelGood

"You actually wanted Samantha but your mom thought Samantha’s dress looked like the top of a peanut butter jar so you got Felicity instead." I am dying over here!

annierebekah

I am a Samantha and my sister is a Felicity and the accuracy of this test is, frankly, uncanny.

elysian fields

I had Samantha because then, as now, I aspired to live a privileged and effortlessly stylish life.

No toy has ever been more pampered than my Samantha doll. I had the American Girl doll hair rollers set, and once or twice a year I would painstakingly re-curl her perfect ringlets.

My 8th birthday was American Girl doll-themed and it was literally the best birthday party in history.

Also: I only made ice cream in that tiny ice-cream maker once, and my God, it was DELICIOUS. Tiny ice cream makers 4 ever.

DrFeelGood

@elysian fields I wanted to break my doll's arms so I could send her to the doll hospital and she would get a little hospital gown and get well balloons.

beanie

@elysian fields my Bitty Baby's head fell off (American Girl babies...you know, they were at the back of the catalog?) and Lily (name I made up for her) came back in a hospital gown. I thought it was the coolest. My mom was probably wishing she had never bought a 4 year old a $80 doll.

AllisonWonderland

@elysian fields Yes, I totally had the same attitude in being a super proud Samantha owner, AND I had those same rollers and hair brush and hair powder (?? Not sure why that was included!) accessories! I would have certainly envied and admired you for having the ice cream maker if I had known you as a child. Now that's an extra touch of class.

theharpoon

@DrFeelGood My mom had doll called Mary Bell Get Well and she had a cast and crutches, I think, and was pretty amazing for a non-American Girl doll.

gimlet

Haha whoops the Molly description is wayyyyy too spot-on. Hairpin, I think you might be my therapist? And I don't even have a therapist!

mewmix

I had Felicity - and the description is apt. I've still got the cup from her tea set as part of my home decor. I don't think I'll ever forgive my mom for passing her down to my little sister - within a couple of months, the doll was completely destroyed and her bed was saturated in cat pee.

Freckle Mint@twitter

As an Australian lady it's so funny to read this because American Girl Dolls are almost this rite of passage in many girls' lives in the US, but obviously they don't exist here and there is absolutely no equivalent. Yet, thanks to spending a fair chunk of time in the USA as a girl, I ended up with my own doll. I even made mum take me to the giant AG store in Chicago, which blew my mind. I was so excited about her, but when I brought her back home to Aus none of my friends could relate at all. To this day I kind of feel bummed that no-one will ever understand why it's not just some doll I picked up on my travels as a little one, but dude it's a piece of American girly pop culture!

slutberry

@Freckle Mint@twitter It occurred to me that buying my kid an American Girl Doll might completely scandalize and alienate my Very Aggressively Canadian mother in law.

alliepants

I had a Samantha and my sister had a Kirsten - I'm now in Manhattan and she's living in a college house called "The Farm" growing her own produce in upstate New York. Just further proof that THE HAIRPIN KNOWS MY LIFE.

What was left out, though, was the nasty case of blonde envy I got as a result.

Jacey Elizabeth Berg@facebook

@alliepants my family was the same way. My sister had Kirsten and I had Samantha. Now I live downtown Metro and she wants nothing more than to move to rural ND and teach at a small school. Eerie.

Pound of Salt

@Jacey Elizabeth Berg@facebook WEIRD my sister had Samantha, I had Kirsten. She lives in NYC, I daydream about my own farm (she looks down on the idea, being a Samantha and all).

dianasolo

Hahaha, I had Addy and Josefina. (I am "any other minority," i.e. Latina.) My younger sister had Molly and Felicity, though? I guess I had enough positive self-esteem for the both of us.

shenannies

Dolls like these are terrifying, always staring vapidly at you. My Snoopy doll never bore holes into my skull at night with a death stare.

knucklefish

Technically I would fall into the "No American Girl Doll" category, but I would have definitely gone for a Felicity. I would argue that her books were the best. Remember Jiggy Nye? Remember when she lost her tooth at Miss Manderly's house? (I'm just now realizing the significance of Miss Manderly teaching manners.) And best of all, the sexual tension between her and Benjamin Davidson, her father's apprentice! They were tooooootally getting married.

wee_ramekin

@knucklefish OH EM GEE YES!! I had the biggest crush on Ben! Didn't he like, date her older sister or her Tory friend's older sister though?

Chiara Atik@twitter

@knucklefish OMG Jiggy Nye! Yes!

Chiara Atik@twitter

@wee_ramekin NAN! (right? she had a friend named Nan? Or was that her little sister?)

alpelican

@knucklefish Remember when she helped him run away by hiding that note in a bird house or something? It was like, spy book PLUS a romantic adventure... with horses. Lurve.

Elleohelle

@knucklefish Oh yes yes yes!!! I had such a crush on Ben too. And the how she snuck out of the house every night to take care of that horse, Penny. Man, I read all of the American Girl books more than once, but I read Felicity's the most, I think.

knucklefish

@Chiara Atik@twitter Okay, I looked into this! Nan was her little sister. Elizabeth was her Tory friend, and she had a bitchy older sister named Annabelle. Apparently Annabelle had a crush on Ben, but I don't think he was having it.

wee_ramekin

@Chiara Atik@twitter OK SO I LOOKED IT UP!!!11!!!!!!!! (http://www.americangirl.com/fun/agcn/felicity/index.php?section=friends)

So. Nan is Felicity's "sweet and sensible sister". I'm getting a vague memory of her stepping around puddles while Felicity brashly walks right through. Felicity's friend is Elizabeth. SHE has an older sister named Annabelle ("...Elizabeth's snobby older sister who thinks everything in England is better"), and I want to say *Annabelle* had a crush on Ben at one point. Oooooooooooo, Ye Olde Colonail gossip!

Elleohelle

@knucklefish THAT'S RIGHT! They kept teasing Annabelle because she was "sweet on" Ben!!!! Ahhh love it.

skycornerless

@knucklefish Felicity/Ben was totally my first OTP.

wee_ramekin

My take on the American Girl Dolls:

*Samantha - spoiled and bratty. And ugh, her default dress was ugly! The sash sits too low on the hips. I actually thought these things even as a child. She was my least favorite doll. Ew. Her "troubles" were like, that she had to go figure out ways to use up all of her money. Compare that to any other American Girl Doll and you realize how lacking in character and overall awesomeness Samantha was.

*Molly - I disliked Molly because I thought she was too modern (yes, the 1940s were apparently "too modern" for my anachronistic 7-year-old soul). Also, her bed was REALLY ugly.

*Kirsten - My doll. I secretly wanted Felicity, but my best friend already had her. I chose Kirsten because I *was* enamored of Little House on the Prairie and because I didn't like Samantha and Molly (the only other dolls at the time I could get one).

*Felicity - SHE HAS A HORSE (sort of) AND ALSO RED HAIR, PEOPLE! Am I the only non-redhead who wanted red hair because of Anne of Green Gables? Totally first choice, but again, the best friend had her. Felicity was so rad.

*Addy - was super awesome. My sister got her as soon as she came out. Her pink dress was the prettiest default outfit (Felicity's is a close second) and I mean, come on. She overcame slavery, for Chrissakes. I thought her accessories were pretty rad, and really pretty.

one cow.

@wee_ramekin YES, THE HORSE. that's all it took. and her dress, her dress! just beautiful. and samantha is the worst.

so what?

@wee_ramekin omg, red hair, YES. ever since i was a wee child i have always, always wanted fiery red hair. now as an adult, i am 95% more inclined to automatically like someone if they have the red hair of my dreams. also, i'm way attracted to red hair people, even if i would typically find them unattractive with any other hair color. i am freak.

back on the american girl doll track, the red hair + horses (i was obsessed with horses as a kid) totally made me a felicity lover, but kirsten was a close second due to my undying love for all things remotely related to laura ingalls wilder.

SweetAlissum

@wee_ramekin I had Felicity and loved her the best because of her horse and her dress for sure. I had the girl sized version of her default dress! You may be jealous of my 7 year old self now.

I totally wanted a Samantha too though, no lie.

applestoapples

"(It definitely wasn’t because of her "St. Lucia Christmas Outfit" ... yikes!)"
(Actually, I did want Kirsten because of her St. Lucia Christmas outfit. I'll go sit by myself in the corner.)

gimlet

@applestoapples Real talk: After reading the Kirsten books, I had my mom make cinnamon buns and then woke my parents up in the middle of the night the next day to eat them. Shockingly enough, they did not let me put candles in my hair, but other than that, it was awesome.

Katie Walsh

@Riff Randell Aw, I am getting overwhelming cuteness about your parents waking up in the middle of the night to eat cinnamon buns with you.

gimlet

@Katie Walsh Yeah, this is all bringing back how incredibly awesome/patient my parents were with my American Girl obsessions and I'm getting borderline weepy over here ... ahhh, I should totally call my mom on my lunch break, yes.

applestoapples

@Riff Randell Jealous! I wanted to do that so badly, but my dad's response was, "We're not Swedish, and I don't want the house on fire."

Anyway, I guess I'm a Molly (with a skosh of Samantha thrown in) because my dad crushed my Kirsten dreams.

theharpoon

@applestoapples I think I am going to wear candles in my hair at the next opportunity. I miss my Kirsten and her tiny lunch of tiny cheese, tiny apple, and tiny bread loaf.

joie

@applestoapples I'm getting a little weepy too...I think I need to call my mom and thank her for letting me churn butter (!!) in her Bosch mixer and make Kirsten's Swedish rye bread that came out like a caraway-scented brick but everyone obligingly ate anyway.

skycornerless

@applestoapples I was majorly in love with the St. Lucia Christmas story, and I'm pretty sure I, too, tried to make my own version. but it was probably, like, wonder bread cut into fancy shapes and place on a tray and no candle wreath. But it all came alive in my imagination!!

megeliza

what does it mean if i had samantha and addy? well diversified?

AmandathePanda

@megeliza Hey! Me too! I just commented on that. I think there were fewer choices when I was a kid - I totally love some of the newer dolls.

nogreeneggs

@megeliza Me three! Wow and I thought I was the only one. I definitely wanted Samantha because well...she had my name and hair color. But then I found out she was boring. And then I got Addy, and she was awesome! Her back story was so interesting. Also, she was prettier than Samantha which is weird since they have the same facial features. Then Josephina came out and my sister got her and I was kind of pissed because she had really cool clothes.

AmandathePanda

I had a Samantha I saved up for myself, and an Addy I think I bought for myself too. I'm white as white bread and was the nerdy girl. Maybe I had identity problems? I also had one of those make-your-own. She was blonde and blue-eyed, and I am definitely neither, but for some reason I thought she looked like me.

young preeezy

YES! Spot-on with the 'No American Girl Doll' description. My mom actually thought she was doing me a favor by at least allowing me to (longingly) flip through the catalog they sent every month.

And I wanted a Samantha, too. My best friend at the time had a Kirsten (she was a blonde). I remember her mom being all, "Yes, she's moved on from her 'Barbie phase'" as if the American Girl Doll was some rite of passage into elementary school maturity.

I think my mom tried to make up for it eventually by buying me some life-size creepy-looking porcelain doll from a market fair or garage sale or something. We accidentally left in the car one day, and in the summer heat, its eyes melted away, leaving it even creepier-looking and, just kind of rubbing it in my face that nothing could EVER substitute an American Girl Doll.

And yes, I DO still feel just a little bit resentful every time I walk by the American Girl Place.

oh, disaster

@prizzzle YES. Mine gave me the Babysitter's Club dolls, which were NOT THE SAME AT ALL. They were hard plastic with awkward arms and legs. If a doll can't sit or stand properly, there's something wrong. Samantha and Molly > Mary Anne and Kristy. Yes, Mary Anne and Kristy, not Claudia and Stacey, the cool ones. Gah, my therapist better be ready for me this week.

fosherbert

@prizzzle YEP. This post has brought a surprising amount of resentment to the surface! My mom always told me the dolls were a ridiculous waste of money, and then years later bought my little sister a Samantha doll, when lil sis never even read the books! I totally dorked out on all the books and even read the end parts about the real life back then. My sister just wanted Samantha for the reasons above. Oh, and my sister got one of those little babies in the back of the catalog as well! grrrr!
Also, I was a Felicity girl because I wanted red hair and this is spot on with the uniqueness complex.

Elleohelle

@fosherbert I always read the historical end parts too! I read those books cover to cover so hard all the time when I was younger.

young preeezy

@Andrea@twitter @fosherbert YES, GUYS! (and I didn't even realize they HAD Babysiter's Club dolls)

My mom also got me one of the American Doll books for Christmas to make up for the fact that I didn't have any dolls, and I tried so hard to make myself feel like "this satisfies my need," but it didn't.

I didn't realize how much I actually resented not owning any of these dolls until this post! Although I will say a friend of mine recently brought them up, randomly, and OF COURSE she owned the exact doll I wanted. And all I could think was "no, it's not fair! Why couldn't my mom just cave in and buy one for me?" Then I could be all, "YES, I owned a Samantha, toooo! Oh, childhood, ha ha!"

fierce_pierce

This is too good. I had Molly, and the matching pajamas (red stripes! they were so itchy!). My sister had Addy. We are about as white as white girls can be. She loved the crap out of Addy, and her matching weird nightgown. We also had black Crimp and Curl dolls because we knew from playground experience that you can't just curl a white girl's hair like that. Very progressive.

JoanTition

@fierce_pierce ha! pajama twins!

Also: My mom would most definitely go to the south side of Chicago to find the white Cabbage Patch dolls for me....

PBandJ

I owned Felicity and made her dresses with hoop skirts because I wanted her to be more like Scarlett O'Hara. I also at one point cut her hair, which was not okay with the parental units who purchased her for me.

pv
pv

Oh god, I had Addy because my mother wanted to prove to me that dolls exist with hair similar to mine. Also, I always felt weird when my white friends had her and would say "I OWN ADDY" because it sounds weird when you know she had a slave backstory.

bananagram

Um, you forgot the most important reason that one would have a Felicity: PONIES. The only reason I liked her was that she had a pony, and omg, I wanted a pony.

My best friend at the time had a Samantha. It should surprise no one that she was kind of a b and we don't talk anymore.

alpelican

@bananagram My cousin had a Samantha, and we don't talk that much anymore either. Weird

EleanorRigby

Did anyone else accidentally unbraid Kirsten's hair? THAT was a mistake.

Megoon

@EleanorRigby THE WORST! You could never touch their hair; never. I wanted to send my Kirsten to the doll hospital for hair re-braiding but my mom wouldn't let me.

pv
pv

@Megoon ugh I had to send Josefina to the hospital because she broke her arm* and they sent her back with a hospital gown, ID bracelet, and stuff like that and that was when I was finally like "Alright, mom, let's cool it with spending money on DOLLS and maybe start saving for my college tuition."

*note: I did not break it, I maintain that SHE broke it HERSELF somehow.

lalaladododo

@EleanorRigby Ugh, yes. It was never the same again!!

Laaditz

@EleanorRigby: not only did I unbraid her hair...I cut it, too. BIG mistake

Sydney C

Team No American Girl Doll. My parents were broke and I was getting to be a little too old to ask for a fancy doll. But I lusted, LUSTED, over Samantha's lemonade set. Especially the tiny petit fours. Sigh.

EggsErroneous

@Sydney C Same boat. But I coveted my friend's Kirsten doll to an embarrassing degree, so for my birthday she got me the miniature version, which didn't pack the same punch. Sigh seconded.

Titania

I got Felicity on the quiz, and I totally forced my mom to buy her outfits for my Samantha doll because I was absolutely fascinated with the concept of THE STOMACHER that came with her holiday dress, and her beautiful hunter-green riding habit. But other than that I was a Samantha girl all the way. I loved her and took good care of her, but was regularly reprimanded for altering her look with scissors, i.e. cutting off her "split ends" from excessive brushing, cutting the straps off her shoes to transform them from Mary Janes into black pumps, and cannibalizing her ribbons and charms and whatnot to make jewelry for myself. Oh, poor mom, I should call her and apologize.

elysian fields

@Titania omg. The stomachers!! I forgot about the stomachers!! My sister had Felicity and I got an absurd amount of delight out of that blue dress. The riding habit was sooo gorgeous, too. Those dolls had far more exquisite wardrobes than I ever will. Sigh.

OxfordComma

@Titania : THE RIDING HABIT. And the hat. My Molly doll often stole the hat. Muttering something about "Colonialism" as she did so.

DorothyMantooth

I'm apparently a Rebecca? But since I grew up in the Pre-AG-Era and she's not profiled above, I have absolutely no idea what this means.
I think I'll just assume that Rebecca was the coolest. She was totally the coolest, right?

DorothyMantooth

@DorothyMantooth Wait! Rebecca Rubin??! OMG, I totally got the Jewish Doll! This quiz totally does know me!

DorothyMantooth

@DorothyMantooth Good Lord, she's also Russian?? Now this is actually freaking me out a little bit...

Lily Rowan

@DorothyMantooth Team Too Old! Although the AG quiz gave me Samantha, and I was a little bit obsessed with the catalog for years.

hungrybee

@DorothyMantooth Team Too Old here too, also a Rebecca. Which is wrong, because I would have for sure been a Kirsten in personality and family history both?

SuperGogo

@DorothyMantooth: Holla Team Too Old. I do have a hard luck story about how my mom tried to be practical and build my character by never getting me a real Cabbage Patch doll though. I had a terribly-made knock-off, and I think maaayyybe it was kinda sorta good for me but also still traumatic? Who knows.

SuperGogo

@SuperGogo: Add: I did the quiz and I got Julie, which freaks me the eff out because she's a "historical" doll who's only two years older than me! Whaaaa so OLD!

hungrybee

@SuperGogo Oh, the fake Cabbage Patch Kid heads, the ones with the weird noses that someone would sew onto a doll body for you. Am I ever familiar! My parents thought spending so much on a doll was ridiculous, and I knew they were right, but I am still a little jealous of the birth certificate business.

Lily Rowan

@SuperGogo I had a HOME MADE CABBAGE PATCH DOLL! My grandmother sewed it.

SuperGogo

@hungrybee: Right?? If it didn't come with a birth certificate and the signature on the butt, it may as well have been a pile of stuffed rags!

Lily Rowan

@hungrybee Mine had no plastic head at all! :(

hungrybee

@SuperGogo The butt signature. I forgot.

@Lily Rowan No plastic head?! Whaaaa? At least you didn't have to look at the nose that was very LaToya Jackson after years of too much blow.

You guys, this is strangely cathartic.

Lily Rowan

@hungrybee My grandmother made the head, too! My grandfather painted the eyes. I loved it, in a "fuck you, materialism" kind of way. Mostly because there was a super spoiled girl in my class who had a million Cabbage Patch Dolls, and as an only child, I always took pride in not being spoiled....And I'm still cheap to this very day!

Bittersweet

@Lily Rowan: How about Team Too Old for Cabbage Patches? My younger sister had a homemade one too...it had a slightly dazed, doofy smile on its (soft) face and sported the body of a linebacker.

Lily Rowan

@Bittersweet Aww.

Bittersweet

@Lily Rowan I know, I might as well sign up for the senior home now.

Anne Catherine Moffa@facebook

@hungrybee -- OH THOSE! My sister and I had them, made by our Aunt Helen, many years before we ever got Cabbage Patch Kids. I named them Millie and Molly. I think I was a bit frustrated by their resemblance to one another, perhaps?

thatsrealbutter

"You’ve thought back on your American Girl Doll, and tried not to be too resentful towards the person who gave her to you, who so obviously associated you with the descriptor “mousy.”. . .srsly

alpelican

I had Felicity, but I only aspirationally had red hair. Just like when I used to call myself Ariel even though, obvs, not my real name.

Also, does anyone else's mother *still buy* American Girl accessories, so I can, in her words, "give them to [my] children someday?" No? Just me?

gimlet

@alpelican I think my mom has hung on to my Molly doll all these years so I can give them to my kids someday, which is understandable since they're expensive as fuck. Too bad Molly's hair is matted all to hell. It's looking more "bride of Frankenstein" than "nerdy 40s braids" right now, for sure.

Hot mayonnaise

Madame Alexander > AG

thatsrealbutter

@Hot mayonnaise SO AGREE

DENNER

@Hot mayonnaise ditto

redkite

Addy was the best because she had EARRINGS!!!!

Also, did anyone else join the American Girl Club? I was on the cover of the first newsletter. Best day of my life.

Also, did anyone else have Felicity's bakeset that included a real thing of sugar wrapped in paper??? Man, I hoarded that shit and one day my mom found it half-opened, months old and crusty with my saliva. She got mad.

elysian fields

@redkite hahaha my sister had that sugar loaf. I got Samantha's gingerbread kit for Christmas once and it was surprisingly tasty.

Elleohelle

@redkite This girl I knew in 6th grade was one of the historical paper dolls that always came in AG magazine! I almost had a heart attack when I saw her. I was SoOoOoOo jealous!

brainyspice

No Josefina? On behalf of all white girls who owned the dreamy Latina, I take offense.

pv
pv

@brianyspice I also had Josefina! My family only bought me minority dolls.

wee_ramekin

@brianyspice I think the dolls mentioned reflect the age of the OP. When I was American Girl Doll buying-age, there were only Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha and Molly. Then Addy came out, and it was just the five dolls for a really long time. Then Josefina came out just in time for my littlest sister to buy her. Now I hear there's even more than those six, but now I am too old so I don't know.

cmonster

@brainyspice My sister had Josefina, and we pronounced the soft J so hard it left my family snickering every time. We were very intent on getting that HOsefina correct. (Maybe why I failed at Spanish in high school?)

Liina Koivula@facebook

@wee_ramekin man, I remember before Felicity! I'm only 28!

Annie Werner

@brainyspice I, too, was a white girl with Josephina. Her confirmation dress was so pretty I couldn't resist!

cait smith@twitter

looking back, kinda seems like my felicity doll is a part of the reason i went to william and mary. luvvv her

charmcity

@cait smith@twitter SECONDED

cait smith@twitter

@charmcity yes!! maybe we know each other. badass self-righteous activist felicity FTW

BoomRoasted

After a brief and unfortunate encounter with the movie Child's Play one Halloween night*, I became convinced that my American Girl doll was going to kill me in my sleep. Addy spent the next few years (fine, she's still there) in a plastic storage tub in my closet. Occasionally I'd take her out to brush her hair and make sure she wasn't blinking on her own, but our relationship never recovered.

*I faked a headache to get out of watching the rest of this movie. What a valuable skill to begin honing at the tender age of 10.

MollyculeTheory

I had Kirsten and Felicity. I cut open Kirsten's torso to see if she had organs & that did not go over well.

I was always soooo madddd that Molly was the nerdy one because I am also called Molly & I am now realizing I may still have some lingering name-resentment.

lookuplookup

Re: Molly, well-played. My Molly-driven (occasional) immutable sense of self is definitely something that has served me well in adulthood. (Along with the sarcasm, of course.)

alpelican

So my [white] neighbor growing up wanted an Addy doll, and her mom would not let her get an *expletive deleted* Addy doll, and when I told my mom about that, she explained what a racist was.

hungrybee

@alpelican A true American girl experience!

mmmml

What about those "design your own doll to look like you" American Girl dolls that came out in the '90s? I saved up for a Felicity but then blew it all on one of the new dolls once they came out. I really wanted that doll-sized locker.

BethH

Any other than the five above don't count. Mattel ruined it

Elleohelle

@BethH Josephina counts because her books still had the same names as all the other dolls' books. NOTHING after her, though.

BethH

@Elleohelle I will concede Josephina. But seriously, if you live near an American Girl store, and want a laugh, walk in with your old doll. The store ladies go nuts for the original Goetz dolls--it's hilarious, and also flattering.

applestoapples

Also, besides the dolls themselves, they all had the coolest itty-bitty accessories that cost way too much. My parents just didn't get that we needed Addy's ice cream maker and pie to complete the experience.
AND THEN they had the girl-sized outfits so you could dress up like your favorite doll. It was all so overwhelmingly necessary, and I didn't even really like other kinds of dolls.

Megoon

Haaaa I had all five of them, and this tells you that I cashed in BIG TIME on my parents' divorce.

Did you know that Samantha has been DISCONTINUED? If you ever want to hear a cacophony of shocked gasps and moans, announce this factoid to a group of women in their late twenties. I've done it. It's fun.

brainyspice

@Megoon Felicity was discontinued too!

Megoon

@brainyspice NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She was my favorite. I was such an aspirational redhead.

BethH

@Megoon Also Kirsten

Sophia Charming (MR)@twitter

@Megoon I used to spend hours flipping through the catalogs, wishing I could have an American Girl, alas. For old time's sake I just googled Samantha to look at all her nice accessories again and just about died when I saw she was discontinued. I feel like a childhood dream just died!

J Fierce

What my sister, Fierce_Pierce fails to mention, is that I wanted Addy because Gramma said, What do you want a black doll for?

fierce_pierce

@J Fierce AW HEY SISTER! You will learn to comment-chain. Also non-Fierce Family Hairpinners: Grandma Fierce is a leeetle bonkers. But lovably so (if you like mean old people).

keanesian

I wear glasses, like books, and am still bad at math. Dammit mom!

charmcity

We were permitted to order the books, at the rate of one per month, from those Scholastic book order forms that we got at school. And in the back of the books was a handy-dandy order form! So I filled it out and every couple of months would get the catalogue, and page through it by the hour, while my mother stonily refused to acknowledge that I was lusting after $100 dolls. I choose to believe that my matriculation at the College of William & Mary was entirely due to repressed desires for a Felicity doll WITH THE BLUE CHRISTMAS DRESS.

sophi

@charmcity THAT DRESS. 15 years later, Felicity's blue Christmas dress stands out more clearly in my mind than anything I actually owned at the time.

charmcity

@sophi Totally. I mean, did I own an elaborate gown that was sewn for the express purpose of attending the colonial governor's ball, an invitation that nearly tore my family apart? No, I wore jeans from the Montgomery Ward outlet, and frankly, I'd rather remember Felicity.

sarahf

I had Molly, and this is pretty dead on. I actually saved up for AGES and bought her with my own money, which I feel was a pretty incredible accomplishment for a 10 year old. Unfortunately, the next year I went to middle school and lost all interest in dolls. So I saved up over $100 for a doll and then put her in my closet, never to be seen again. I think I still have it at my mom's house, though? So perhaps I could give it to my hypothetical future child.

Ellie

@sarahf That's so impressive! I have my Molly in my mom's house too, in a trunk (a cheap, different trunk that worked perfectly, not the fancy trunk by AG).

OxfordComma

@sarahf : Me too!

...but I played with her all through Jr. High,
and surreptitiously through high school...

wee_ramekin

Okay, so maybe I'm getting all butt-hurt over nothing, but I feel like the OP's description of Felicity mentions nothing of her spunk, sass, wit and élan. Felicity - with her passion for women's rights, colonists' rights and animal rights - was who I aspired to be as a child.

The OP's description of Felicity makes her sound like *Samantha*. And yes, being "a Samantha" is most definitely an insult.

Michelle Laroche@facebook

@wee_ramekin
I totally agree with your ideas about Felicity--I liked that she was a rebel and a tom-boy at times. Her declining to drink tea, when she rescued Ben and the time she was climbing on the roof to pick apples really showed that she was independent, outgoing and stuck up for what she thought was right. That's why I liked her.

sophi

I never owned an AG doll (thanks, Mom), but if I did, it probably would have been Felicity because she was CLEARLY the coolest.

Also, uh, my best friend and I may or may not have written musicals about Samantha and Molly one summer and then performed them for an audience of stuffed animals and her little sister. And I may or may not still know all the lyrics to the songs that we wrote about Samantha. So... there's that.

Princess Slayer

Did anyone else have the little six inch dolls? Way cheaper, not enough accessories. I made an ambiguously historical house out of my bookcase for my Felicity, Kirsten and Molly dolls.

Felicity was totes the best. She wore breeches and had a pony and sexual tension with hot apprentice Ben. Felicity/Ben: ORIGINAL FLAVA, Keri Russell not included.

EggsErroneous

@Princess Slayer Yes! I had Little Kirsten. She came with a Little Book.

sarahf

WAIT - What the hell?! This post made me nostalgic and I went to the American Girl website and it looks like out of the dolls listed above, Addy and Molly are the only ones still being sold? No Felicity, Kirsten, or Samantha!

Hilary Jacqmin@facebook

I owned a Samantha doll.

I'm also a stickler when it comes to proper word usage. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, nonplussed means "Brought to a nonplus or standstill; at a nonplus; perplexed, confounded." It does not mean to be cool, calm, and collected, although it is frequently misused in this way.

elysian fields

@Hilary Jacqmin@facebook internet fist-bump from me, another grammar and word usage asshole. let's go to a secret lair and bitch about the daily degradation of the English language.

theharpoon

@Hilary Jacqmin@facebook Also, "confidant?" Wrong usage. #GRAMMAR JERK

GoCeilings

@theharpoon Oh yes.

(Incidentally, I'm Australian but I did the quiz anyway and got Samantha. Just going to go ahead and kill myself now.)

D.@twitter

@Hilary Jacqmin@facebook Are we secretly related ('Pin sisters!)? B/c I was prepared to write /exactly/ this comment in its entirety, but found it here first. It's all, "I think you mean nonchalant. A young lady would /never/ be caught nonplussed."

Lisa Frank

I had a Samantha doll, but in my defense, she was the only brunette doll. Also she was rich. Come on!

southernbitch

i got kit on the quiz and i don't know who she is. i am, through and through, a kirsten- my ancestors even settled in minnesota during the same time peroid, and i lived in south dakota for yeaaaars.

southernbitch

@southernbitch oh lord, it's the great depression doll. that might actually be far more accurate, given my bank account.

Caitlin Podiak

I had an American Girl Doll of Today, with auburn hair and green eyes, although I have brown hair and brown eyes. We had matching teal nightgowns.

I dyed my hair red through most of high school, and later got freaky teal green contact lenses, but neither was a particularly flattering look for me.

miss marie

I had Molly (and wanted Samantha, natch), but looking back, ol' Molls was a badass! She had to deal with rationing for heaven's sake!

Also, did anyone else audition to be one of the American girl models in the catalog? I did! I wanted SO BAD to be one of those girls cheesing with my doll in matching party dresses.

But alas, I was not chosen. (Too mousy perhaps?) I was introduced to the wide world of rejection and broken dreams that day. And maybe took my first step towards womanhood? So thank you, American Girl.

Heidi Cautrell@facebook

I didn't even know what an American Girl Doll was when I was of the appropriate age. I had a Cabbage Patch.

Wait, does that make me old now? Dammit!

From the sound of it I was/would be a Molly. I don't need to take the test to assume that.

Juliette@twitter

This is perfection. But, er...what if I was a Molly who wanted a Molly? She had the hippest PJs-- and that dog. :)

BethH

Has anybody else used neices/younger cousins as an excuse to watch the movies? Speaking of, why doesn't Kirsten get any love? Is it because no-one can pronounce her name correctly?

constant reader

@BethH there are MOVIES??

elmyrah

I was a Kit when I got her, and I took that quiz and I'm still a Kit after ten years. I don't know why that makes me happy, but it does.

totallyunoriginal

We were suuuuper poor so I'm not sure what bank my parents robbed to get my sisters and myself each a doll one year.

Between the fact that I owned an AG doll and that it was SAMANTHA, I earned a rep for being a rich snob. Whatever. My doll had the prettiest hair in the whole world. Who needed friends when you had a Samantha doll?

Chiara Atik@twitter

You should send everyone you know an American Girl E-Card. http://www.americangirl.com/ecards/

Tragically Ludicrous

I had a Molly because I wanted one, for some reason. Samantha seemed snooty and boring. I also had an Addy because my name is Abby and that is pretty damn close!

I was always really upset because they never had a Jewish one, though. AND NOW THEY HAVE ONE. I wish I could take it back in time for my 6-year-old self, it would have been the greatest thing ever.

likethestore

I never had an American Girl (possibly because I'm Canadian? Also, I was obsessed with toy horses) but now I want a Samantha so I can feel superior.

nerds

Never had one - me! But I had all the Samantha books, because, come on, we shared a name, it was meant to be! I really wanted Felicty though, but mostly because she had a HORSE. Horses are the best ever. My best friend had both Samantha and Felicty, though. Maybe I just wanted to be her?

mynamebackwards

I had a samantha, but not because I was in any way a rich bitch (nor did I want to be) but because I was OBSESSED with all things victorian/turn of the century. I wrote poems in a leather bound journal with a fountain pen and wore lots of long lace dresses...behavior that carried over into my emily dickinson phase in high school.

also, it looks like someone tampered with the american girl wiki because I'm pretty sure that samantha's parents didn't die from "butthole disease"

Samantha

I owned Addy and Samantha, both for obvious reasons.

During high school senior spring, long after most of the girls at my school had put their dolls aside, my French teacher assigned us a bullshit assignment of writing a children's book in French. Of course, we also had to illustrate it. My partner and I were like "What now? We have to draw!"

We decided to use photographs instead. I brought in my two dolls, she brought in three from her family, which included her and a younger sister, and we convinced a classmate with two younger sisters to bring in their family's five dolls. We also had various set pieces. Samantha's birthday and bedroom furniture. Someone else's school desk. And then there were the insane amount of outfits.

We spent an entire afternoon using the senior homeroom, various hallways, and the school courtyard as backdrops. There were, of course, multiple doll costume changes.

When I think about it, it was probably one of my favorite days of high school after the day I got my diploma and the day I took my last AP.

piekin

I had Kirsten, and I loved her Christmas outfit! HELLO, candle hat??!

But I am now obsessed with fiber arts and the dystopian future, and I live among the IRL Kirsten fashions in Brooklyn, so otherwise this is perfect.

megeliza

@mynamebackwards i also was obsessed with everything victorian and had samantha as well. i'd like to think we were just mature and genuinely interested in history. or i was a snob, either way.

down the rabbit hole

I had Samantha, because my mom wouldn't let me get one of the make-your-own American Girl dolls (she wanted me to have an educational one, and she really wanted me to get Felicity) and Samantha looked most like me. I did have to save up my own money to buy her, and I was always getting cheap knock off AG doll clothing for birthdays and Christmas. Also, my grandpa built Samantha a bed for one of my Christmas presents, but he built an imitation of Felicity's bed at my mother's behest, which was naturally quite disturbing to me.

Nutmeg

Oh man, I had Kirsten and Felicity! For some reason, my mom didn't mind spending a million dollars (or, you know, $160) on the dolls, but she steadfastly refused to buy any of the outfits because she could sew them herself, no way was she spending $59 for a doll dress!

This is also why I didn't get a tweed skirt when those became popular again; my mom told me she could make one for so much less!!! and twelve years later she has not finished it yet.

Edgar Allan Bro

two things:

1) my best friend in high school had SEVEN AMERICAN GIRL DOLLS, I shit you not. having a Samantha didn't make me special. :(

2) the second hit on a google search for my name is... well, it's this: http://americangirl.wikia.com/wiki/Emily_Bennett

pretty much everyone I know has sent me some kind of article/catalog/etc. on this, and I hate them for doing it, because OMG I HAVE RENT TO PAY, I CANNOT BE BOTHERED WITH WANTING TO BUY MY DOLL! AND YET.

mouthalmighty

I got at least one doll for Christmas every year, without fail, because my grandmother collects dolls. Not ONCE was there an American Girl under the Christmas tree (I wanted Josephina, because she was more my coloring than Addy).

A-YEP, this lady here is SUPER resentful when passing the American Girl Place, for sure, but also just a little bit superior, because I made it through my childhood without that fancy doll. Or something.

sketchipants

I had Samantha! Not because I felt all superior but because I read a lot of A Little Princess when I was a kid and the pornographic descriptions of Sara's Victorian-rich-kid doll and all her Victorian-rich-kid clothes made an enormous impression on me.

The only things I really remember about her books were that maids were not allowed to be pregnant and NEVER WORK IN A FACTORY because the machines WILL RIP OFF HALF YOUR SCALP. And something about ice cream, I think.

Brynn Malek@facebook

What about the customizable "My American Girl"?

LALeo

Ohmigosh! I had Kirsten, and this is right on! I was obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie books (I was Laura for Halloween for like five years in a row - I still have my bonnet) and I seriously think about how I would survive (and thrive) in a post-apocalyptic setting ALL THE TIME. My little sister had Addy - I think she asked for her just to freak out my (slightly racist) grandparents, haha!

Pound of Salt

@LALeo I'm the same way - I had so many of Kirsten's outfits and accessories and loved Little House and I'm ALWAYS worrying over what I'll do after the apocalypse. There must be a lot of us out there: Former Kirsten owners, post-apocalypse fretters.

Lily Rowan

You guys are all over Wendy McClure's new book, right?

LALeo

@Lily Rowan YES!

theharpoon

What are we going to call our Kirsten Apocalypse club? Something with a good acronym, I hope.

Anne Catherine Moffa@facebook

@LALeo -- Yes!! I definitely watched Little House, as well as read the first seven of the books or so. And I do actually think quite often about my own capacity for survival. Was a Girl Scout for years upon years, can start a fire in a hailstorm (proudest moment of my outdoor training!), and still like to learn everything I can about edible plants, constellations, knot-tying, sewing, wildlife, and I do so wonder and worry about how well I'd do if technology all implodes one day. It's so great to see there are more of us out there!

parallel-lines

I'm so sad they phased out Kirsten before I had a chance to have a daughter of my own who I could teach lessons about the hardships of growing up in Minnesota. Yes, it was all ice fishing and terrible illness (mostly colds/flu) and it was hard, dammit! Everything is so easy for you kids today! Back in my day we didn't even have ice houses, we fished on a bucket used as a chair and used an umbrella to sheild ourselves from snow and wind (true).

parallel-lines

@parallel-lines Remember the matching outfits they made at one point? I found one of Samantha's dresses at Beacon's Closet once and it must have belonged to a HUGE kid. Even though I was 30 at the time I really really really wanted it - I took it to the dressing room, tried it on, and even though it fit I had a complete shame attack - no way could I ever wear it in public without being super creepy.

Eureka Rochelle

Am I the only 30 year old who still asks for one doll outfit from my parents every Christmas? I don't play with them or anything, but I do keep them displayed in our (yes, I am married. To a man, not a cat) guest bedroom. And I also guilted my parents into buying me Kirsten's trunk for Christmas two years ago, since I had wanted it for over 20 years at that point, and it was being discontinued.

alpelican

@Eureka Rochelle I'm pretty sure you're the daughter my mother wishes she had (instead of me)

Anne Catherine Moffa@facebook

@Eureka Rochelle -- I'm 30, and nope, you're not the only one. Well, in truth, I haven't *asked* for the past few years. But I've had Kirsten since I was 12 or so, and last fall I went on and on to my mother about how much I also loved Felicity; describing in loving detail how much nicer the older dolls were, with the redder hair color, the more natural eye color, the softer face model... but I couldn't justify buying a doll when I was tight on money and living abroad, teaching English in Spain. Lo and behold, my *DAD* was eavesdropping on my every word, and secretly bought me an old Felicity for Christmas! He was going into surgery, and right before he went in, he whispered to my mom where he'd hidden my Christmas gift, just in case anything happened to him.

I got a Christmas card from home, and in it was a photo of Felicity, sitting on my bed, all dolled up in a red Colonial gown. I think I cried. *blush!* And when I went home for summer vacation, I downloaded the AG clothing patterns, bought fabric, and started teaching myself how to sew, so I could make her some more clothing.

colleenmpls

I had one of the dolls that was supposed to look like the owner (you got to choose the skin tone, hair and eye color). I think this says about me that I always had to be unique and different from my Samantha-owning friends, even though I of course still wanted an American Girl doll. Also that I was a narcissist.

Liina Koivula@facebook

Thank you for adding the "no doll" category. All along I was trying to play along with which one I WOULD HAVE CHOSEN (Kirsten), but really, I'm the "no $80 doll" girl (and pretty financially sound), and I totally still resent everyone who had them.

Pound of Salt

Oh man, I had Kirsten and I’m obsessed with the post-apocalypse, but I’m not too confident that my jam-making skills will see me through it. When I got Kirsten for Christmas around 1993 I promptly pulled her braids out and soon her hair was matted and her face dirty. I sent her back to American Girl for a cleaning and they actually ended up replacing her head because of the damage I’d done.
Which reminds me of the time I gave an old Barbie in a similar state to a friend who then took the time and care to properly love a Barbie and fixed it up to look new again and then I got jealous and asked for it back. I can’t remember if she actually gave it back or not, but almost 20 years later I still feel guilty.

theharpoon

@Pound of Salt Yeah, I haven't really gotten too far with my Edible Wild Plants book, I'd probably die real quick.

Katie Walsh

@Pound of Salt Whereas my post-apocalyptic plans involve getting jacked in order to improve my chances in the inevitable Thunderdome type activities. I don't think that's very Kirsten of me!

warmsungilted

Another for "no doll", but I really wanted both Felicity and Samantha and everyone's accessories. I loved getting the catalog so much! Still a bit resentful is pretty spot on for me.

Peteykins

I know saying this makes me a jerk, but please look up the definition of "nonplussed."

saharagreen

@Peteykins The word nonplussed is undergoing a transformation. Let's give her a break.
http://www.slate.com/id/2290536/

TheRisottoRacket

Did anyone else have one doll, and mix and match accessories? Or was I the only weird kid that did, because I had a Samantha, but had different outfits from four or five of the other girls, and read Molly exclusively.

Creature Cheeseman

@ratchet I did that! I actually had the My American Girl Doll or whatever that was supposed to look like me, but I had a mixture of all the clothes from the other dolls.

martinipie

I had Samantha, but I also wanted a Molly, and my parents were very strict about ONLY ONE. Looking back it totally makes sense, they are stupidly expensive. So anyway: As a child I KNEW Molly was more my personality, and even my looks (brown hair in braids and dork glasses? check) and yet...I was obsessed with Victorian-set stories and younger-readers books, plus Samantha had wayyyy cooler accessories, so I went for the Samantha.

I was still very into the idea of all the dolls' worlds though, and voraciously read all the books!

shalalah

JOSEFINA???

beecaveroad

I had... 6 American Girl dolls. I think I lucked out by having an awesome grandmother and two brothers, sooo I was the lucky recipient of all the girly gifts. Annnd I had the horse. It was kind of the best thing ever.

In retrospect, I think having so many AG dolls made me take them for granted and like, seriously screw up their hair/put makeup on them and ruin their poor faces. My Kirsten ended up looking kiiinda rough. On the other hand, I liked to make my own clothes and accessories for them so I guess creativity was fostered?

nonvolleyball

"(as opposed to being a Molly and aspirationally owning a Felicity)" OH MY GOD, THIS WAS ME. also, I feel like my Felicity ownership definitely helped pave the way for my subsequent Tori Amos obsession (complete with parent-enraging/Angela Chase-emulating dying of my hair).

reebs14

Oh, man. That Felicity description is spot-on. I had an American Girl Doll tea party in the 4th grade complelete with ice cubes that had flowers frozen in them (!). My best friend recently told me that she still holds a grudge for not being invited, as her mother refused to buy a doll.

Lyz Lenz

What does it mean if I had Kirsten, but then 2 years later Felicity came out and I was bitter and jealous? I wanted Felicity.

sgharrison

I had to save up money from my paper route to buy my Molly doll. My parents were definitely not about to shell out ~$100. I felt really proud when I finally got her and then she sat on my shelf like a trophy because I was too scared to mess her up.

Peaces Reese

Samantha's "fur muff" can't possibly be what I think it is... can it?

hellogrizzly

My quiz result was Felicity, but I had the Samantha and Felicity dolls. Actually I still have them, tucked away.

Amber V@twitter

meh, Samantha was a rich snob. (though I may be selling her short; she was the only one whose books I never read all the way through. I may have skipped a Kiersten or two though)

whimseywisp

YES! THIS! You grew up to be financially independent, level-headed, unspoiled, and still just a little bit resentful whenever you walk by American Girl Place.

rivetingrosie

I had Felicity because I liked horses and there was a horse involved in her stories...

constant reader

I almost sold my felicity doll in a garage sale last summer, I'm so glad I didn't. but I always thought the molly books were the best. molly saves the day? when they play capture the flag at summer camp? IT WAS SO GOOD. sigh.

totallyunoriginal

I would like to add that the customizable AG dolls just furthered my notion that I wasn't "normal" looking.

hairdresser on fire

Hairpinners, I need your doll-knowledge, this is driving me crazyyyyy after reading this. Okay, I had a Felicity, but I bought one of those "Dress Like Your Doll" outfits that was definitely not hers. It had like a purple satin ruffle skirt (maybe lavender), a cardigan, and some sort of dressy frilly shirt; this was like 15 years ago so that's the best I've got, but I LOVED it and want to figure out what doll it is.

hairdresser on fire

@hairdresser on fire NEVER MIND, I figured out that it was the year 2000 commemorative outfit, which exceeds all of my hopes and dreams.

Sarah Payne@facebook

HAHA! I was resentful when I noticed the gigantor American Girl store after moving to TX.. I wanted Felicity badly.

mertz

I had one that looked like me! I'm Latina and the Josefina one hadn't come out yet. I even had glasses to match mine! (My parents actually bought glasses for some of my other non-AG dolls too lolz)

I was a Girl Scout and played violin so my doll had a Girl Scout outfit and a violin recital outfit w/violin and music stand. I was thinking about bringing my pink doll case where I kept my mini-me and her accessories to my apartment in NYC but I dunno is that too weird??

Once a guy made fun of my SINGLE beanie baby I had displayed in my college dorm room (if he only knew the madness going on in my parents storage shed...) so IDK, might be a bad idea...

Anne Catherine Moffa@facebook

@mertz -- Oh, just be yourself and nuts to the scorners. There'll always be someone who might tease you. But think how great it is if someone sees your doll and turns out to be a kindred spirit!!

naptime

What does it mean if you just cut them out of the catalog and played with all of them in paper form? That way I could have them ALL, and as many accessories as I wanted. There was no way my parents were getting me the real thing, but somehow I didn't mind - the catalogs were enough fun in themselves!

ennaenirehtac

@naptime The catalogs were almost better than the dolls themselves -- getting them in the mail was the highlight of my, er, quarter (they came out quarterly, yes?). I wish I had a catalog now -- I'll never play with my Samantha doll again, but I'm sure I would still take that catalog out and stare at the little accessories (and little food!) and be happy.

Caitlin Podiak

@ennaenirehtac Agree! When I finally got a doll and some accessories and even a matching nightgown, none of that compared to the fun of the catalogs themselves.

spunkybkworm

whoa.... i have a long, long, long relationship with Pleasant Company (does anyone remember that this was the original company that published the catalogues or just nerd me?) and AG -- something like a good 10 years from 5 to 15. my really dedicated years were btwn 9 and 14 though: subscription to the magazine [with the awesome "real girl" paper dolls and their family histories!], a saved-for Felicity with matching summer outfits and a straw-hat i made myself bc they didn't sell her amazing hat in my size, the Historical Club (didn't quite complete all the projects), and some of the Girl of Today stuff (slumber party kit and sleeping bag!!).

I loved the Revolutionary period for the elegance and manners so Felicity was my first choice. but for those reasons, Samantha was a close second and i actually had her nightgown in my size (the high ruffly neck was itchy too!). The quiz says I'm a Kit -- I guess for my flexible personality?? Anyhooo, when I finally visited Williamsburg at 21 (my dad now lives nearby) I was still giddy and I fantasized about being one of the "living history" characters.

And yes, the majority of my things (besides the Girl of Today stuff which got handed down to my sis) are patiently waiting to be bestowed on future daughters. AG for LIFE!!!!
p.s. Can't believe they have "archived" the original characters!

Loz
Loz

Ugh. I took the quiz and am Josefina. I think the only question they honed in on is that I like baby animals. What a match.

marmoset

Okay, but does anyone who is mid-twenties-ish (who was a kid when there were only the 4-5 original dolls) remember the suuuuper creepy MyTwinn catalog? I think being on the AG catalog mailing list got you subscribed to this thing. Apparently it still exists and yep, it's still super creepy.

http://www.mytwinn.com/

marebitch

@marmoset Was that the same catalog that had "Bitty Baby"?

Caitlin Podiak

@marmoset Yes! Ahhhhhh! Yes!

ohyaknow

I'm white and I got the Addy doll because I was really into Civil War history. I also bought her by saving up my allowance for over a year. I went without accessories and made my own, because that would have taken another couple of months to save up for. I guess that's not very funny/edgy/totally girly~*~*~*

marebitch

I never had a doll I read some of the books even though I was WAY more of a Little House on the Prairie type of child. Who is Kit? I took the quiz and I don't remember a Kit. Also who here wants to decide which character from Little Women they're channeling? I do!!!

Creature Cheeseman

My thrifty mom had dresses made in my size to match the doll (because it was cheaper than the ones in the catalogue) and got my dad to make a crib for my Bitty Baby that looked just like the real one. Also, in my Girl Scout troop we made outfits for our Bitty Babies (more of us had those than American Girl dolls, for some reason) and I am still shocked at my sewing abilities at that age. It's these overalls that are super cute AND reversible!!

DENNER

I'm 31 and my grandma started getting me AG books right when they first started coming out, which I think was in the late 80's? I'm pretty sure I had all 5 girls' books (only 5 at the time, if that), but I read those Molly books so hard that I can still remember the stories, especially the one where she's at camp playing capture the flag or whatever? When she has to row the boat through nettles or something? Maybe I can't remember them too well, but anyway, Molly was my girl, she was the shit. But the second I was allowed to pick which doll I wanted I betrayed her and myself and went with Samantha, of course. It's gross now to think how much enjoyment I got out of changing her from her normal dress into the white sailor outfit I later got, next christmas.
I think Samantha vs. Molly describes pretty accurately what happens while little girls are growing up and making choices...and then also the rest of life, ugh.

Michelle Laroche@facebook

I'm totally upset at what owning Samantha supposedly says about me. I haven't always been confident and capable. And, I certainly haven't always been well-liked.
When I think of Samantha, I think of someone who stuck up for her friend Nellie, who "didn't have enough food or enough coal." I think that Samantha was humble in some ways--when she wanted the doll dressed in blue velvet, she was very humble about asking for it and then gave it to her friend Nellie (even when she thought her grandmother would be mad.) She was there to stop Eddie from being a bully and put him in his place. She seemed like a good friend, someone who was socially responsible with what she had. These are the qualities I associate Samantha with and that is why I'm drawn to her.

mizadventure

So much Samantha-hate! =( I loved Samantha because we had the same hair. ... Yeah, I guess that was about it.
I may have dressed up as her for Halloween a couple years ago.

I also had a Molly because, let's be real, also the same hair. Just braided.

squid v. whale

The beds. The AG DOLL BEDS! My Samantha needed a bed to sleep in at night, not only because it was the girly bed of my girly dreams, but also you can't properly cuddle with an AG doll.

I could not cuddle with a doll version of myself! This was her only downfall.

alicia

I am young enough to have owned Josefina - and that was my quiz result...because I like baby animals and music. Who doesn't?

Ashley Marie@facebook

I must be weird because I actually wanted Molly, but my mom liked Samantha, so I told her that I liked Samantha too. So, I ended up with a Samantha when I actually wanted a Molly. I think, in part because I was deprived of my Molly, I now have a slightly unhealthy obsession with all things WW2. I also had a Josephina (she was the first one I got) because we visited Mexico and I loved Mexico. And I had a make-your-own doll, who was Asian. I liked her because we lived in Japan for 3 years. I named her Mei Ling.

kayjay

I think I'm aged out of this discussion, but my daughter hasn't. And they're not $80 anymore. They're $100. I didn't buy her any of them. Rotten kid has rich grandparents.

Amanda Smith@facebook

Why in the world is there so much Samantha hate?! I had her but I didn't even realize she was designer or anything until this moment. She might have been rich but she learned so much about helping others, specifically her friend Nellie, throughout her books. I just can't believe people don't like her.

I also wanted all of the other dolls. I loved the books and couldn't get enough of anything Pleasant Company as a kid. I only ever got Sam (though my sisters got Felicity and Kirsten) and she is absolutely my favorite childhood toy. I always took really good care of her because she was the only one I would ever get. I ended up becoming a History major thanks in large part to American Girl.

Samantha, despite what people think, is great. She learned so much about women's rights, the treatment of those who worked in factories, etc. She was a tomboy in a world that didn't want her to be. She had SUCH a good heart despite being raised in a rich world. Let's not hate on her.

Lyndsie Clark@facebook

@Amanda Smith@facebook Yes! Agree! Agree! Agree!

Anne Catherine Moffa@facebook

@Amanda Smith@facebook -- Exactly! I always thought the main point of the AG books was to show you how a wide range of girls lived, in different eras and cultures. It would be silly to *exclude* wealthy, majority, or upper-class girls from the picture entirely! Rich girls aren't automatically bad people! I think Samantha's stories show accurately how sometimes, wealth is a benefit, and in other ways, an obstacle to be overcome. She was sheltered and privileged, but she grew over the course of the books to understand that other people lead a very different life from hers, and that maybe being a lady isn't *only* what her grandmother makes it out to be.

Lyndsie Clark@facebook

You should probably do analysis of the "new" dolls like Kit and Rebecca etc. Otherwise, in 10 years we can say about kids who owned them that "they didn't have much sense of self worth since their dolls were too new to have much personality". heh heh.

kerstin larson

But. . . I didn't have a choice. . ..

landissa

This is pretty spot on. I had a Samantha doll and I must be really old (in my 30's) because I didn't know any other girls with AG dolls. The only reason I had Samantha was because my name is Samantha and back in the 80's I couldn't find my name on anything (I didn't even know any other Samantha's - now there are tons). So everyone bought me her books and I think the doll was the only other thing you could own back then - I don't remember any furniture, etc.. Well, those books must have got to me - I loved them and now I live in NYC.

Agerleygirl

I had a josefina doll? What does that mean?

Sunny Marie Rissland@facebook

I had Kirsten and Samantha (well actually, when I say *had* I mean they are still at my parents house awaiting our joyful reunion someday) growing up and my sister had Molly. Felicity didn't come around until both of us were a bit too old for them. Sad, since we're both gingers, but what can you do?

Anyway, Kirsten was my fave (I actually liked her Christmas dress - whatever that says about me) and I think this is pretty spot-on. I *do* love to craft, *could* survive an apocolypse, and was happy to learn that wearing thick knitted sweaters with reindeer motifs was suddenly cool again. Molly's pretty close for my sister too. Awful at math, sarcastic, still a little peeved that she got shackled with the nerd doll, and still wants attention (though she'd never admit it).

Amanda Hull@facebook

I had Josephina and Kit too, what about that?!

Also, as a proud owner of Molly, I *didn't* want Samantha, thankyouverymuch. Molly wore glasses like me, and she came from the 1940s and I was very much (still am) obsessed with World War II. (though I did grow up to have a spunky haircut, contacts (...still wear glasses) and a VERY dry attitude!) I think the writer of this article was just biased towards her Samantha doll!

Ashley Heise@twitter

I had Josefina because she was the newest doll when my parents got them for my sister and I...my sister got Felicity and that description is quite spot on. xD I don't see how they wouldn't include Josefina...I know she wasn't in the original group but she DID come out in 1998 or so. How is that not original enough? :P

Anyway, case in point how Josefina could have possibly shaped my life: I am now dating a man named Jose who I have every reason to believe will be my future husband. xD

Lauren Sherman@facebook

What about the girl whose mom wouldn't buy her an American Girl doll at age 9 but felt so bad about it she sent the girl Samantha for her 28th birthday? And what if that girl totally keeps Samantha on her dresser? And thinks about wearing the little heart pin that comes on Samantha's lapel?

AshleyT33

What if you had all 5?...Does that make me schizophrenic?

Very interesting to hear people talking about the "rivalries" between the different dolls, never realized that existed, lol.

Emilyinthecity

@AshleyT33 I had all 5 too... They're all still in really good condition for the most part. I never realized the rivalries either, I just played with them all. My mom would sew me matching outfits ... Felicitys blue dress still remains my favorite in my mind

AshleyT33

@ Emilyinthecity - Same here, I LOVED that outfit...I liked her the best because of that outfit, haha

Bridgette Griffith@facebook

What does it mean when your mother got you one of the customized dolls that didn't have a story ? I think it was because i couldn't make my mind up over molly or Samantha. On the one hand Molly had glasses and an awesome skirt like I did and on the other hand Samantha was filthy rich (Something I aspired to at a very young age.) So In the end i just got a doll that "looked like me" and got accessories from both girls.

kkent4950

I had a Molly doll, though I secretly liked Kirsten due to my love for all things farm-y/pioneer-sy, and sort-of liked Samantha due to her sailor outfit and watercolor book :)

The only accessory/outfit i got for her was the modern girl rollerblade outfit, which came with a white t-shirt with a design, green shorts, and the rollerblades, helmet , and i think some other safety equipment.
I can't even imagine calculating the number of hours i spent looking at the catalogs...

Anyone remember the Magic attic dolls which were kinda similar to American girl? I thought their key shaped necklaces were awesome lol.

It makes me a little sad that mattel brought them out...they seem more generic. it also makes me sad they are retiring the dolls, because i know i would probably go wild buying my future daughter(s)the dolls plus the tons of accessories/outfits i used to want!

MirrorGoRound

@kkent4950 YES! This thread actually made me remember the Magic Attic Club and I got really excited! I never had the dolls (I was not a doll person) but I LOVED the books. Like, I had almost all of them and I really, really regret getting rid of them because I grew up and would never read them again or whatever.

In related news, I planned to go to Goodwill tomorrow and now Magic Attic Club books will be on my list of things I hope to find.

annaclare

did anyone else have "the american girls premiere" computer game??

shousto

@annaclare Yes! hahaha

Lindsay Georgevitch @twitter

@annaclare oh yes! We had a really crappy computer though, and the game would always freeze it up. I also couldn't record my voice for it, so all of the characters had to use the monotone computer voices that couldn't say all of the basic Spanish words I would have Josephina say...bummer.

Lindsay Georgevitch @twitter

@annaclare oh yes! We had a really crappy computer though, and the game would always freeze it up. I also couldn't record my voice for it, so all of the characters had to use the monotone computer voices that couldn't say all of the basic Spanish words I would have Josephina say...bummer.

Jess Elaine@facebook

you forgot about the American Dolls you can pick to look like you! I had one of those (although I didn't make her look like me) What does that say about a person?

miss_shankly

How about girls whose parents thought it was insane to pay 80$ for a doll, but who inexplicably got EVERY AMERICAN GIRL DOLL CATALOG EVER.

(Maybe I got on a mailing list because I ordered from the scholastic book fair...)

The hours I spent drooling over those catalogs.

I think not having an AG doll but having been subjected to this manner of consumer torture has probably just made me a jealous, status-obsessed bitch. Why, American Girl Dolls?! Why!!

Stephanie Montague@facebook

Dude. I had like 5 American Girl dolls. What does that say about me?

Courtney Hooper@facebook

so lemme throw this curveball at you: i had addy AND kirsten. whaaa? also, i absolutely had her because of (a) her st. lucia outfit--it had fire ON HER HEAD! (b) this was when there were only 3, so molly was too dorky and samantha was too prissy, so...

Britt Brat@twitter

This is hilarious I wanted a Molly, but I fell into the didn't have one category so I'm very sarcastic, seek attention, and resent my parents every time American Girl Dolls are brought up in conversation. And the "It definitely wasn’t because of her "St. Lucia Christmas Outfit" ... yikes!" part had me rolling for a good 10 mins! I automatically pictured that candle-filled tiara. lol And you forgot Josephina( if I spelled that right). She was awesome!

sjs
sjs

Maybe it's because I grew up in a woodsy region of the US that had a lot of people of Scandinavian descent, but it seemed like every girl I knew had Kirsten. I had Samantha, and I never knew anyone else who did! The description of people who owned Samantha couldn't be much further from the truth for me. I just chose her because her hair and eyes were the same color as mine. I always hated Barbie dolls and refused to play with them because, when I was little, Barbies never had dark brown hair. Even as a young child, I was offended by that.

Tina Franqueira@facebook

ummm i had josephina? did we just forget about her cuz she was mexican? lol thats shitty haha

Alina M. Hensley@facebook

@Tina Franqueira@facebook LOL I think the creator of the "quiz" is probably in their late 20's and therefore before the Josefina/Maya/Kit/etc generation.

Darcy Ring@twitter

What about Kaya...what does it say about you if you had her?

spicymama

I had Samantha, Kirsten, Felicity and Molly (only child, what can you say? LOL) however Samantha was my favorite and Kirsten (who looked just like me) was a close second. Both descriptions describe me to a T. Remember when they had the American Girl pins? I had TONS of them, I still have the I <3 Swimming one. LOL. Good times, good times.

Tipsy Reader@twitter

Hello? If you loved Molly you loved Daria (from MTV). I saw that connection a while back. Then again, I lived it. Lulz.

JN-4

I didn't find this accurate to my childhood at all. My first doll (I own 4 -Samantha, Addy, Kit, Lindsey (Girl of the Year 2001), my mom owns 2 - American Girl of Today and Nellie)was Samantha and I was the only girl in my immediate circle with a Samantha doll. I liked books, hated math, wore glasses (like your "Molly" personality) and while I loved Molly's books and some of her outfits, my first love was Samantha. All my friends had Molly (with a few Kirstens and Felicitys and Josefinas in there)and I got made fun of for having a Samantha. The argument seemed to be that Samantha was a rich snot and therefore not "real". Molly was the "decent, hardworking American from the Greatest Generation" and therefore was "real people". This manifested in group gatherings where my friends would flip through the catalog and cheer when we looked at Molly's pages and boo on Samantha's pages. Way to attack me, when we were 8, guys.

This argument completely ignores the fact that, while Samantha is a child of privilege, social justice is a major theme in her books. Child labor, industrial conditions, women's rights, segregation, immigration, the divide between rich and poor, and blended families are all issues that are discussed in Samantha's books. I truly believe Samantha grew up to be an activist, she was exposed to enough of these ideas as a child and believed in them fervently (for a 10 year old). She was gutsy, stood up for herself and others, and believed in doing rather than just saying - her sampler read "Actions Speak Louder Than Words".

Molly's books, much as I love them for Molly's adventures, do not take on social issues. WWII is paramount and a few of the moral dilemmas of wartime are handled in terms of children learning about their worlds. But there isn't much about problems might be going on in 1940s America (Molly and her peers are all lily-white, middle class, suburban kids. Samantha was too, but she saw the other side of the tracks, literally in the first book when she went to find Jessie her family's seamstress and figuratively when she ventured into the former Gas House district in Manhattan.)

My Molly- promoting friends are all Republicans. Not the most open-minded Republicans, either. I, a Samantha girl, am a liberal Democrat. Connection?

I loved all the books, like all the dolls (and some of the more recent ones) for different reasons, and do miss the 90s Grin-Pins, American Girl Historical Society etc. I am an AG kid for life, the lessons and history I learned in those books set me on course for life.

Also, Samantha Parkington was totally Bryn Mawr College Class of 1917. Annassa Kata!!

Dupree@twitter

Parents: Are you sure you don't want Addy? She's blaaaaack.
Me@9: I'm not color-blind, I'm near sighted, and wear glasses...like Molly.
Parents: Addy overcame slavery, like our family!
Me@9: And she totally has the best books, but our entire family still lives in South Carolina, don't get it twisted.
Parents: *sigh* Get her the ridiculously expensive white doll.
Me@9: *FISTPUMP*

My parents' faces when the first thing I did with Molly was take out her pigtails? Priceless.

Taryn Southern Belle@facebook

@Dupree@twitter
HAHAHAHA SO TRUE!! I wanted Molly more than I wanted Addy. But I felt like I should get Addy because she was black. LOL THAT IS SOOO WRONG!!

Alina M. Hensley@facebook

I got two, somehow. Somehow I suckered my mom into getting me TWO. I really wanted Felicity, but my best friend had Felicity, and I thought, she'll hate me if I get Felicity, too. So I got the design your own American Girl Today, and NAMED her Molly (how much more convoluted could I get?) And then I decided I needed a black doll, too. So I talked my mom into getting me Addy.

Fast forward a decade, Molly falls apart. Turns out she was a lemon, something about that batch was never quite right, so now I have all her body parts and need to sew her a new body. And I recently acquired a Samantha, though I never wanted her. I thought she was too posh.

So here I am, now, like fifteen years later, with a 5 year old daughter who stands to inherit THREE AGC dolls. And I'm totally not spending the money they ask you to spend on those outfits. I'm slated for a decade of handsewing TONS of them for this kid. Oy.

Taryn Southern Belle@facebook

My parents wouldn't buy me an Addy doll, nor would the get me the "create your own" dolls. Whenever I see something about American Girl, I get really irritable.. :( And the sad thing is, we had plenty of money to be me one! T_T!!

kga4911

This article is complete CRAP. You suck as a writer and are full of trite generalizations, Chiara Atik.

Gregory Stock@facebook

I just wanted to mention that boys had dolls growing up in the early 90s too. I had Adddy. I bought her from a re-sale shop with allowance money. I am a gay man. But, I think the dialogue of boys/girls and gender formation is continuously left out of these "popular" culture phenomenons. I just wanted to share that I was always attracted to the "difference" even though nothing ever really reflected my experience. There still isn't much for young boys and girls who struggle with growing up. We are so often just given things, instead of asking children what they actually want. Thanks for the article though. Watch "Barbie Nation," too.

Anne Catherine Moffa@facebook

@Gregory Stock@facebook -- I, for one, think it's very cool that you owned an AG doll. By "attracted to the 'difference,'" do you mean to Addy's story and race as setting her apart from the other dolls? Or to the 'different' toys and themes customarily assigned to females in our culture? I think it's ridiculous that we can't even admit that boys play with dolls, only "action figures." My friend's little cousin used to love to play with Barbie dolls, but only the women. His mom actually started putting a Ken doll or two in with the Barbies, just so that when he played with the dolls in church or whatever, people wouldn't take too much notice. Argh. Just let the kid play with the pretty girl dolls, already.

Tashina Monk@facebook

I wanted (and eventually received) a Felicity doll. I did not want her because she was different, I wanted her because I loved the history behind her story. I was a bookworm and American Revolution History nerd (still am). I was most assuredly not spoiled. Just saying.

Oh, and I never wanted a Samantha doll. Not once. I LOVED my Felicity. <3

sprayfaint

Ugh, this dredges up bad memories! I had Samantha because she had the best accessories; in no other way do I resemble a Samantha-owner. But I still say this test is spot-on because literally the season after I got Samantha, they came out with Felicity, and since I was OBSESSED with Colonial Williamsburg I nearly died with jealousy. To this day I have a regrettable sense of my own uniqueness.

neffersions

Wait a minute. I had Samantha because I mistakenly thought she was Jewish. I decided it was OK that she wasn't - she could still pass - but then I went about sewing dress suits for her to wear, instead of her Victorian dress.

I'm also not confident - I don't put much stock in status symbols unless they're college degrees. If there had been an Elizabeth doll (Felicity's awkward best friend), I would have bought that.

Nica Conde Nuttall@facebook

Okay, first off---this is driving me crazy but there weren't 5 original dolls, there were 3. They were Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly.

Did everyone really have Samantha? I had (have) Samantha and only knew one maybe two others who also had her. Everyone brought Kirsten or Felicity. Felicity came out right before I got my Samantha and I liked her, but chose to be loyal to my favorite. I love everything about Samantha from her clothes to her stories. I also was drawn to her because I grew up in a large Victorian house. Seriously though, I'm more of a Molly (according to this article) but I thought her accessories looked junky especially compared to Kirsten's and Samantha's. Everything was plastic.

Also, I have a cousin who works in fashion, lives in Mannhatten, and owned Kirsten while I owned Samantha and live in the middle of nowhere in WV. So...

Grace&Emily

I have Emily, simply because she's English and I liked her hair colour and meet outfit, I hate maths though and suck at it. Also, her book is kinda inaccurate as in what we english people say. We call oatmeal porridge, headbands alice bands, sweaters cardigens etc.

I don't think what doll you pick really does effect your personality.

American girl mother

I don't understand how so many of the "ladies" who have the American Girl Dolls and read the books can have such potty mouths! Yikes :-( I would think that even if you only read these books you would still have the ability to express yourself in a more appropriate and becoming manner.

Melissa Gault@facebook

wow I can't believe this article. My first doll was Addy I had to save my own money for her and she was present for my 7th birthday. I chose Addy because I knew she would have the most interesting stories. And to be honest I gave mean looks to the girls who had Samantha. I knew she was just rich and pretty, that is not interesting at all, so all the girls that had her made me think they didn't read the books or they weren't interesting. Samantha was my least favorite doll and I never wanted her.

zoey@twitter

Everything about this is true for Kirsten and me. Except I got mine because I actually was blonde. I wanted Addy. I never put it together that I love crafty things and plan out my post zombie plan is because of Kirsten. ATHANKYOU

Rebecca Zielke@facebook

I wonder what it would have meant if you got one of those ones that were supposed to look like you. My grandma got me one, but they didn't have any green-eyed light blonde hair ones like I have, so I got one with a darker blonde and green eyes. I played with it for a few years, but then I lost interest and moved on to other things....

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ViVaLaDiVa

all of these descriptions are so true! i got kirsten as a child, because of the blonde hair and blue eyes, and that was the only american girl book i had read at the time. however, i ended buying all of samantha's accessories for her! i have them to this day, where i have passed them down to my 4 year old daughter, and find myself cringing every time i see the doll swung by her hair, upside down by one arm, etc. because of the price. now i spend my days on ebay hunting out felicity accessories bc if i had to choose now that is the one i would want! i never realized this until now LOL

cocosam966

Strangely enough, I wanted Samantha because my grandmother said I looked like her and she was her favorite, and then I got it for Christmas. And the entire time, I knew that she was the coolest; after all, she's on the Pleasant Company logo. Also, her accessories were fun. Heck, I even bought Nellie. Now that I think of it, I am pretty confident now, so wow. This was pretty accurate.

squishycat

I had a Samantha, desperately wanted a Felicity but had to content myself with a redheaded Girl-of-Today who didn't look a goddamn thing like me and had ugly mid-90s clothes (but a sparkly angora Chanukah outfit!), and then bought a Josefina out of my own savings. I absolutely picked based on who had the prettiest, coolest accessories and clothes.

(God, that sounds like I was spoiled as fuck, but the Samantha doll was literally the only gift I got from my paternal grandparents and aunts and uncles that year, and the Girl of Today was from my maternal grandparents an entirely different year, and most of the doll clothing I possessed for them was sewn by my mother or myself.)

Also, everything you said about the girls who actually owned Felicity is true of me. Also, re: Samantha - utter obsession with all late-Victorian/Edwardian era period dramas.

D.@twitter

I had Samantha AND Felicity, but according to this, I am, at heart, a Kirsten girl (but classy like Samantha). Maybe it's b/c I also had Kirsten's cookbook. Also, I read ALL the books.

Courtney Ashford@facebook

This is TOO true, esp. the part about not having an Amer girl doll (like me). It was torture b/c I was sent the catalog & NEVER got anything. Looking back, I am (mostly)glad that I didn't waste my parents' $ ...but still :(

aubri

what about look-a-like american girl dolls?

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Mares Eatoats@facebook

I found another article that looks like it took what you wrote... :/ Unless that's you?

http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/campuslife/which-american-girl-doll-are-you

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Mel K@twitter

I was given Molly as a gift (apparently since I had glasses this was the doll my grandmother thought would be best for me). My sister got Samantha and I was honestly rather jealous. Later on I got Felicity and my sister and I ended up sharing Kirstin.

My family dealt with the insanely expensive outfits issue by having my grandmother sew clothes modeled after the outfits in the catalog. They were not quite the same, however, and I assure you as the ungrateful child I was, I noticed.

Kate Maxwell@twitter

My parents had nothing to do with me picking Addy, and it had nothing to do with my acute awareness of diversity in the 1990s toy market. She doesn't look like me at all. I liked her books best. End of story.

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Allie Thek@facebook

No room for being white and wanting Addy because you just found her interesting and likable? As a kid, I wanted to read about a realistic character who faced adversity. I didn't see her as a "black doll," just an interesting person. Christ...

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Guys. I got the asian Girl of Today doll because I already had Samantha and Molly, and I looked exactly like Molly. I was like "Why would I get a doll that is going to look like Molly with brown eyes? Not particularly economical. I'm gonna get the asian one because there are no asian AG dolls and I'll name her Karen and write six books about her and maybe Pleasant Company will discover my storyline and I will be responsible for creating Karen from Illinois." I was ten.

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Maura Kennedy@facebook

Oh my gosh I did want Kirsten because she was blonde like me and I also read a ton of Little House on the Praire...my childhood explained...

realgb8

While I accept the proposition that the type of American Girl Doll you related to and wanted says something about your personality, I believe that many of the rest of the author's statements are incorrect and based on the author's own personal bias.
The author has tainted the article from the viewpoint of somebody who notices and values looks above personality and character. Due to this distorted viewpoint, she misses most of the important reasons why children chose specific dolls, other than Samantha.
The author clearly identifies with "girly girl" Samantha. (She'll be happy to know that her writing shows her affinity for Samantha more than any "quiz" can tell her she's a Molly. Also, climbing trees doesn't negate the fact that Victorian-era clothing was incredibly more fancy than any of the other eras.) She understands why Samantha's pretty clothes and upscale-lifestyle would appeal to certain types of children. However, she misses the mark on almost everybody else.
About her only saving grace is that she does see the connection between Felicity and Molly. However, the connection is not simply that "mousy Molly" people wanted to be "pretty red-headed" Felicity. The connection is that both were relatively tom-boyish, caring individuals who could see the world beyond themselves. Both of them were involved in the "war effort" for the greater good (Molly through the victory garden and the knitting, Felicity through the tea protest.) Even when Felicity ran away with the horse to save it's life, it was a daring act of rebellion. On the other hand, Samantha's kindnesses to Nellie from the view of a "mousy Molly" or a "firey Felicity" appear as not much more than the movie Clueless. Not all Mollys wanted to be "just" the pretty face dressed in lace. In fact, arguing that Mollys wanted to be Samanthas only for the "pretty clothes" is the type of argument that gives high school cheerleaders a bad reputation for being snotty, shallow, and self-centered.
As for Addy- I get that the author was trying to make a joke here, but it fell flat and was a bit offensive. As a white girl who saved up my $2/week allowance for over a year in order to get my second doll, Addy, my parents had nothing to do with it. (No, I'm not a "bad-at-math-Molly, I was just a bad saver who didn't always do my chores.) I probably would have gotten Addy (or Felicity) first, but they weren't around when I got my first doll. There were plenty of girls who wanted Addy for her storyline and not for her looks. (Here, the author's bias of judging based on looks really comes through.) Addy was the bravest of them all- she ESCAPED SLAVERY. Hello. That trumps Felicity's stealing a horse several times over. She got enough education in a short time to win a spelling bee- that trumps any of the educational accomplishments of the other girls. She had the political vision to see that the status-quo in race relations was wrong, despite being told that it was ok, which trumps anything Samantha saw about the difference between rich and poor. Her desire to help others was much more innate than Molly's. Plus, she was responsible for helping her family from a young age in a way that at least ties Kirsten's adventure with the beehive. Addy was an extremely strong character and to reduce her to simply "the black girl" is an extreme disservice.

Why didn't I speak about Kirsten? I never had as strong a relationship with her because she neither spoke to me strongly nor made me question how people could "think that way." Therefore, unlike the author, I don't want to presume facts not in evidence.

Michael Lott

Felicity has the same personality and almost the same character with my wife :D I will show this to her and I can't wait about here reactions. LOL

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Elizabeth Rajchart@facebook

I hate to say this, because I promise my parents aren't bigots in the slightest, but when I got Addy it was the opposite. They didn't mind but I wasn't encouraged. I think they were confused why I wanted a black doll. I just liked her story, I was always interested in that time, especially the underground railroad.

Sadia Asim@facebook

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Tabitha Bell-Marie@facebook

I'm pretty sure that the purpose of this article was to provoke a sense of nostalgia among girls who grew up in the 90s, but it lowkey rubbed me the wrong way. I had an Addy dool, not only for the reasons that the article named, but because my parents, mentors, and role models saw the need for me to learn about, understand, and embrace my cultural heritage.

Addy wasn't simply a way for my parents and the people around me to show me that there were dolls out there that looked like me, but a means to demonstrate the significance of that era on my life today. Addy was not simply a "racial toltem than personality". Addy WAS the personality...she truly demonstrated what it was like to overcome, be driven, and to EXCEL.

Yes, all of the dolls my parents purchased were dolls of color. Yes, it raised an acute sense of awareness of the "lack of diversity in 90's consumer culture" because I was aware of the efforts that my parents and support systems went to to ensure that I knew that I too had a voice and felt as though I were represented...but to have Addy reduced to being simply a symbol of a message that minority parents were trying to send to their little minority daughters is a bit offensive.

Us little girls of color learned valuable lessons from reading Addy and the rest of the Walker family, just as little girls who owned the other dolls learned lessons from their stories....and it went far beyond race.

Trey Smith

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fez987

My friend got the trunk/wardrobe that Felicity had back in the day, and it was actually a really nice, well made piece of furniture that she still uses today! It looks like the dolls all have one generic wardrobe now, and it looks pretty cheap. I am certain that of all of the purchases her parents made for the dolls, that wardrobe got the most use. It was certainly a better purchase than the useless wicker table and fake ice creams that my parents bought for my Samantha doll haha. Not that I didn't love and appreciate it at the time!

22702422@twitter

We had eight total, My sister won Kit in a giveaway. I went to two of those American Girl events( they always had them on my birthday). I was ticked she won and I didn't. We had Addy, Felicity,Josefina,Kit, and both of us had a "me" doll. My mom bought a crazy amount of the stuff, but we also got a lot of it as gifts. I remember one Christmas, UPS came just about every few days in December. My mom use to "hide" the stuff and we know where, and we would work together to get it down and open it( seriously, like the only good memory we have). We left proof that we gotten them down. Everyone I know had a couple of them.

MOV27

So I never had an American Girl doll because they were expensive. What does that say about me?

Haslo

What does it mean about my life if I had all of these dolls, plus one 'just like me' doll and three bitty babies?!

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This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work.
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This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work.
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I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what you've got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
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I had FIVE American Girl dolls (but zero accessories) because my EXTREMELY lower working class parents divorced at the height of their popularity. THANKS GUYS!

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I'm younger than the majority of commenters, as I was born in 1994 and remember Kit and Kaya. The description for Samantha couldnt have been any more off. I wasn't aware she was the coolest, in fact I was the outcast, the unpopular one in school. My love for Samantha all boiled down to my obsession for anything edwardian and victorian (which has carried on today) as well as the staunch social justice themes in her books. Also let's face it, I secretly wanted her lavish clothes and lifestyle, but I'd never admit it.

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